What to Think About When Opening a New Tab

        Jakob’s law of UX states Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. You’ll want to seem as familiar to your user as you can.         

                Generally speaking you open a new tab when you leave the basic navigational structure of your website. From the usability point of view the decision to enforce opening links in new windows violates one of the fundamental principles of the user interface design: users should always be in control of the interface they are interacting with.                

The 8 Golden Rules of Interface Design, User Interface Design Principle  and First Principles of Interaction Design claim that a user-friendly and effective user interface places users in control of the application they are using. It is important that users are placed in control of the user interface they are using.         

Since users expect the link to be opened in the same window, set your links to open in the same window.        

 You don’t want to force a new window on users unless there’s a very good reason to do so. For the latter purpose, consider opening links in new windows if the link provides assistance or help, if it may interrupt an ongoing proces.The most common situations when choosing to make a link open in a new tab are when I am taking the user away from my site to another site but I don’t want them to leave my site completely. For example if I’m running advertising on my site, if a user clicks on an ad we don’t want them to navigate away from our page so a new tab would be beneficial in this instance. Say I am an ecommerce site, basically I don’t want a user to leave my site, as the longer I have their attention, potentially, the more likely they are to convert. So any links to a site that isn’t part of my site, I would want to open in new tabs.

        Basically the number one reason sites do it, is so that if you get distracted once you click a link, their page is still there in a tab for you to come back to later. ‘Time spent on page’ is an important metric for sites to be ranked high in SEO, and they don’t want to give that up too easily.